What to expect and how to prepare for a surgical abortion
Before your abortion, you may want to make arrangements for food, company and entertainment. If you have someone you can talk to about your abortion, and who would be able to support you, you may want to ask them if they can spend the night with you after your abortion. You may also want to prepare some meals that can be quickly reheated because you may not have the energy to do that after the procedure. You may also want to gather something to do after, such as a book to read, a movie to watch, a journal to write in, etc. Think about what you like to do when you need rest or comfort. Make sure you have loose, comfortable clothing to wear to the clinic. If you have children, it may be helpful to arrange for someone to help you with childcare even after the procedure because you may still be affected by the sedative.
When you arrive at the clinic, you will have to fill out some forms and medical history and you may have to wait. You will meet with a nurse privately to go over the procedure and they might do a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy and offer you counselling on birth control options. An ultrasound will be performed to confirm the number of weeks of the pregnancy, but you don’t have to see the image if you don’t want to. A nurse will stay with you during the procedure to explain what is happening and support you. You may experience some pain or discomfort, similar to menstrual cramping. You may cope with pain very differently than another person and each person’s abortion experience is different. If you are experiencing pain you can communicate with your nurse or doctor to know your pain management options. The procedure will last approximately 15 minutes.
After the procedure, you will recover in the clinic for approximately one hour. It’s recommended that you be accompanied home by someone since you won’t be able to drive after the procedure, and you may need support if taking public transit or a taxi. Bleeding afterwards is normal, even for a few weeks after the procedure, but you should seek medical help if you pass any large blood clots, or soak a menstrual pad faster than 1 pad per 2 hours. Some people find comfort in having a ceremony or performing a ritual in the weeks after the procedure to mark their experience. If that is something you would like to do, we can help you plan for this or refer you to someone. Each person feels differently about their experience and whatever you feel is valid.
Medical abortion is newly offered in Quebec and while we are working on this section of our website you can refer to the following resources on medical abortion: